Dr. Linda Bisson, professor emeritus and geneticist
Dr. Linda Bisson is a professor emeritus and geneticist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis; she taught wine production, the biology of yeast, and graduate courses in genetics since 1985 and served as Chair of the department from 1991 to 1996. She co-chairs the Policy and Practices Committee of the ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant to build and sustain a diverse community of innovative (especially women) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) scholars at UC Davis. She served for several years on the CAP Oversight and Appellate Committees, chairing both. In addition to her academic roles, she was the Science Editor for the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture for 15 years and an editor for other scientific journals as well.
Shelley Lindgren, wine director & co-owner
Shelley Lindgren is the Wine Director/Co-Owner at A16, SPQR & A16 Rockridge Restaurants in the Bay Area. Her reputation for seeking out Italian wines made with lesser-known grapes has earned her recognition as a wine pioneer. As a member of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, Lindgren stays involved with San Francisco’s food community. She has taught at the Culinary Institute of America, and is a regular instructor at Tante Marie. Lindgren’s first book, A16 Food + Wine, was awarded Cookbook of the Year and First Book/The Julia Child Award at the prestigious 2009 IACP Cookbook Awards. She has been named Best New Sommelier from Wine & Spirits, Best Wine Director in San Francisco Magazine, has been awarded for Best Wine Service in 2015 by the James Beard Foundation, and has received countless other awards.
Megan Glaab, winemaker
Megan’s love and enthusiasm for wine led her to the University of Adelaide in Australia, where she obtained a B.S. in Enology. After graduating, Megan continued her winemaking education by working at several wineries, including Torbreck, Peay Vineyards, Marcassin, and Pisoni. She is now the winemaker and co-owner of Ryme Cellars and UPHOLD wines, along with her husband Ryan Glaab. Located in Forestville, CA, they produce Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Ribolla Gialla, and two versions of Vermentino. Megan also started a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir project, Lost and Found Wine, with Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth and the Bartolomei Family of Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant. Megan and Ryan live in Healdsburg and are the proud parents of two children.
Alvetta Embry, sales representative & account manager
Alvetta grew up in Atlanta and graduated with a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Georgia Southern University. Over the years, she fell more in love with wine as her knowledge expanded and palate developed. In the fall of 2014, she decided to dedicate her career to the wine business and headed to California to be close to some of the best wine regions in the world. She currently hosts a variety of positions in the industry from wine sales rep to private winery tour guide to sommelier and consultant. She lives in Oakland with her dogs who never let her drink alone!
Debbie Zachareas, retailer & judge
Debbie Zachareas is a highly regarded wine expert, international judge, and lecturer. Her passion is on display at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant and Napa’s Oxbow Wine & Cheese Merchant, where she is both owner and managing partner. Over her career, she has helped shape San Francisco’s wine culture through innovative wine programs, emphasizing small-production and sustainably farmed wines. She has developed wine programs at bacar, Ashbury Market, and EOS. Her expertise has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Food & Wine and Saveur.
Debby Zygielbaum, farm & vineyard consultant
Debby Zygielbaum is a farm and vineyard consultant with over two decades of experience farming for regenerative organics and biodynamics, with an extensive background in premium organic wine grapes. She’s an experienced shepherd, has managed olive, fruit, and truffle (yes, truffle!) orchards, and designed and installed edible landscapes as well as hedgerows. She’s also a naturalist with a background in California native plants and horticulture. She copyedits and makes websites in her free time.
Tonya Pitts, sommelier & wine director
Tonya Pitts has been in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. Her career in San Francisco began with Chef Judy Rodgers at Zuni Cafe and Chef Jeremiah Tower at Stars Restaurant as a server. After three years, Tonya was running the wine program for Loretta Keller at Bizou Restaurant, where she realized her true passion for wine. Today, she is the Wine Director at San Francisco’s One Market. Tonya has worked in many notable houses in the bay area and has been featured in Wine & Spirits Magazine, Tasting Panel, and numerous news and industry publications. She is also a judge for the San Francisco International Wine Competition and is a tasting panelist for Wine & Spirits Magazine.
Nadia Dmytriw, importer and distributor
Nadia is a native San Franciscan who has been working in the wine industry since 2001. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Language Studies from U.C. Santa Cruz and has also completed coursework at the University of Oenology in Bordeaux. Her passion for foreign languages, cultures, teaching, and wine led her to work in various aspects of the wine trade in France and Russia before returning to her native S.F. Bay Area. Nadia worked her up to Managing Partner in her previous company Joli Vin Imports and she spent nearly a decade representing many of the growers with whom she currently works. In 2017 Nadia founded her own company, Floraison Selections, a grower-driven wine importer and distributor representing a select group of hands-on, independent, minimal-interventionist growers who make wine with a true sense of place and origin.
Deborah Parker Wong, DipWSET, journalist & presenter
Deborah Parker Wong, DipWSET, is an opinion-leading communicator, journalist and author who specializes in the wine and spirits industries. She is the Global Wine Editor for The Tasting Panel, SOMM Journal and Clever Root magazines; the co-author of “1000 Great Everyday Wines;” and a contributor to industry trade publications including the former Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine, Spirited and Drinks Business which you will find posted to her archive site www.deborahparkerwong.com. In addition to her work as a journalist, Deborah is an adjunct professor in the wine studies program at Santa Rosa Junior College and offers private certification courses as an approved program provider for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
Jill Klein Matthiasson, vintner
Jill Klein Matthiasson started making wine with her husband, Steve, in their backyard a month after they started dating. Jill and Steve have since become internationally acclaimed vintners, with their wines being featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, Bon Appétit magazine, In-Style, Decanter, Food & Wine, and The Wine Spectator, to name a few. When Jill isn’t managing the family wine business, she is picking and selling fresh fruit from her orchards, preserving the fruits and vegetables that she grows in her garden, and raising her two amazing sons.
Molly Madden, ceo & founder
CEO and Founder of RedHen Collective, Molly Madden is a passionate businesswoman and community organizer with over 10 years experience in wine importing and distribution across the US and abroad. After working to establish an ambitious wine importer in New York, Molly moved to the Bay Area to develop a new business model that embodies feminist values. Over the past three years, she has worked with a talented team of cooperative business advisors and wine industry specialists to launch RedHen Collective and build the foundation for a new wine economy, with a passion for social impact.
Esther Mobley, wine writer
Esther Mobley joined The San Francisco Chronicle in 2015 as its wine, beer and spirits writer. Previously she was an assistant editor at Wine Spectator magazine in New York, and before that an intern for Wine Enthusiast magazine. Esther has worked two harvest seasons, at Round Pond Estate in Napa Valley and Bodega Rolland in Mendoza, Argentina, as well as in wine retail and fine dining in her hometown of Boston. She studied English literature at Smith College.
Diana Snowden Seysses, winemaker
Diana graduated from the Viticulture & Enology program at UC Davis in 2001, then worked in both California and French cellars with Robert Mondavi Winery, Mumm Napa, the Araujo Estate, Château La Fleur de Boüard, Domaine Leflaive and Ramey Wine Cellars. By 2003, Diana had become enologist at Domaine Dujac in Burgundy, and consultant at Domaine de Triennes in Provence; in 2005 she became winemaker at Snowden Vineyards.
Valerie Masten Bonné, vice president for national sales
Valerie Masten Bonné is the vice president for national sales at Skurnik Wines & Spirits, and one of the country’s foremost authorities on national fine-wine sales. Over the past seven years, she has built a team to sell the critically acclaimed Terry Theise wines in nearly all 50 states, part of an extensive national portfolio that includes everything from top Burgundy to the famed wines of Paul Jaboulet Aîné. That has given her a deep working knowledge of wine sales at every level, from Michelin-starred restaurants to major national retailers and airlines—skills built on her years as a top fine-wine saleswoman in Atlanta during that city’s culinary boom years. She also works with distributor partners to train wine professionals and sommeliers in markets across the country, providing detailed education on topics like grower Champagne and German wine law. She lives in New York City with her husband, Jon, and their cats, Souris and Baby Boo.
R.H. Drexel, writer
R.H. Drexel is the pen name for a wine business insider who has worked in nearly every sector of the wine industry for the last 30 years. In 2012, Drexel published the first issue of Loam Baby, her wine culture zine, which garnered favorable reviews from Los Angeles Times, Punch Magazine, Imbibe, Wine & Spirits, Food & Wine and The Wine Spectator, among others, for its irreverent cartoons, in-depth articles, and anachronistic approach to wine journalism. Drexel continues to publish Loam Baby, and is also freelance writer, in addition to being a regular contributor to The Wine Advocate and JebDunnuck.com.
Suzann Russell, managing director
Suzann oversees a portfolio of primarily Napa county wineries and vineyards in her role as Managing Director in Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division, providing customized commercial loans and treasury management services for clients ranging from small family operated wineries to larger enterprises producing over 750,000 cases annually. Suzann joined Silicon Valley Bank in 2000 as a credit analyst and worked through the lending ranks to her current role. She spent the first three years of her banking career at SVB’s headquarters in Santa Clara as a commercial lender for software companies, then switched her focus to wine lending and relocated to SVB’s St. Helena office in 2004. Suzann is an active member of the Napa/Sonoma chapter of Women for Winesense. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. She lives in Napa with her husband and two young daughters.
Dr. Malcolm Hobbs, research associate
In 2004 Malcolm gained a PhD in Psychology from the University of Southampton in the UK. Since then he has been engaged in a variety of research projects. In 2015 he joined the UC Cooperative Extension under Viticulture Advisor Monica Cooper and works on projects that include looking at gender diversity, team dynamics, sexual harassment, and job satisfaction in vineyard crews.
Jena Domingue, vice president of global sales
A San Francisco Bay Area native with over 20 years’ experience in sales, Jena Domingue leads the sales team of WineDirect, which helps wineries sell directly to consumers in the way that works best for them, providing clients with end-to-end sales solutions—from e-commerce to fulfillment—as well as educational materials designed to help them grow. With a passion for wine, especially sparkling, Jena brings best practices to direct-to-consumer sales. Jena loves sports and was a professional cheerleader for Oakland Raiders.
Cathy Huyghe, journalist and CEO
Cathy Huyghe is the co-founder and CEO of Enolytics, a big data company for the wine industry, whose clients include Frescobaldi, Champagne Bollinger and Freixenet USA. She is a journalist for Forbes (on wine) and Inc (on entrepreneurship), and author of the award-winning book, Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World through the Lens of a Wine Glass.
In addition, she co-authors the 30-day practice and weekly newsletters at A Balanced Glass, founded by Rebecca Hopkins, which creates awareness around healthy balance for professionals in the beverage alcohol industry. She is also the founder of Harvard Alumni in Wine and Food. Her current areas of interest are women in wine, compassion, and the challenges women face particularly around confidence and financial abundance.